The Happy Arab News Service




Friday, April 3, 2009




The Thirst

Scenes of angry Iraqi crowds attacking coalition forces clearing the mess of suicide attacks in Baghdad and elsewhere are not about to go away just because America's new and enlightened president is pulling these forces out of the country. (Obama is actually moving some of them to Afghanistan. The anti war logic behind this decision absolutely beats me).

BAGHDAD, March 26 -- There was a numbed moment Thursday, the interregnum between an attack and its carnage. Then the anger unfurled, as survivors took stock of a car rigged with explosives that had detonated in a market crowded with women and children in northern Baghdad, killing 16 people and wounding dozens more.

"All of this is your fault!" Sgt. Ali Abbas, one of the policemen who arrived at the scene, recalled women shouting at him and his colleagues.

Amid the panic of survivors and the screams of the wounded, elderly women threw sandals at them, he said. Others spat at the police officers and shouted insults.

"Why all these problems?" a woman named Um Ali shouted as she walked down the street hours later. "We're celebrating there are no explosions and now they're back?"

She screamed to no one in particular. "Why did they come back?"

. . .

Anger directed at Iraqi security forces is not unprecedented, and in places like Abu Ghraib and Dora, it has sometimes born a sectarian bent. But Thursday's outburst was in a Shiite Muslim neighborhood, directed against predominantly Shiite security forces. It also illustrated the task ahead as security forces are forced to assume more and more responsibility. Although far more popular than the U.S. soldiers they replace, the goodwill they enjoy can last only as long as security they provide.

This was published before a massive fallout between the Sunni fighters of Awakening councils and the Shiite government's security forces that led to several days of street fighting in Baghdad. And on top of this reports came about Kurds unilaterally taking over areas around Kirkuk. The decision to pull out coalition forces out of Iraq may be a very reckless one but its recklessness is not immediately apparent as there is a certain security residue left by the last "Surge" for the current US administration to spend away before the bomb goes off. The US military spokesman still claims that violence is at its lowest in years but the signs of an approaching storm are already here.

"The enemy is unable to maintain a high rate of attacks," the general said at a news conference. "They don't have the resources."

While perhaps true, Thursday's bombing was the fourth major attack in Baghdad and its outskirts this month, illustrating the resilient ability of insurgents to carry out devastating strikes in some of the country's most dangerous regions -- parts of Baghdad and its outskirts, Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, and the region around the northern city of Mosul. Some police and Interior Ministry officials have warned that Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents are reorganizing in parts of Baghdad and its outskirts and in Basra.

"They're all waiting for the Americans to leave," Abbas said.

Source: The Washington Post

The recent spark of normalization in Iraq may have less to do with normalization as such but rather with a change in the nature of forces battling each other. Both the Sunni fundamentalists and Shiite militiamen overplayed their hand and provoked a backlash of resentment and rejection in their respective communities. The US "Surge" and Iraqi government's campaigns in Basra and Sadr city were capitalizing on these sentiments and thus achieved success. However the fact that Awakening Councils have taken place of the Al-Kaida in Mesopotamia and other groups while Shiite militias are largely out of the streets seems to have contributed little to rapprochement between the two largest groups in Iraq. Neither it seems to have significantly weakened that Thirst for Final, Crushing Victory

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